Var is a very popular holiday destination. The weather is (almost) always radiant and the most famous resorts such as Saint Tropez, Fréjus, and St. Maxime are to be found in Var. The southernmost tip of the Cote d’Azur is a peninsula with the island Porquerolles. At this Island the sea is incredibly clear and warm and the landscapes are amazing. Inland, Var is bordered by the well-known Gorges Du Verdon. Enough to do if you ask me!
Toulon, a city of contrasts. It’s the largest city in Var and it’s located on the foot of a mountain and in the same time directly at sea. In the old and picturesque historic center you will find beautiful fountains a colorful and fragrant market where you can buy all kinds of products from Provence. A great activity to do is discovering the coastline on foot via a constructed footpath. This runs from the Tour Royale to the Mejean bay.
Saint Tropez … Who doesn’t know this city? It is an incredible place with 5 million visitors every year! It this kind of ‘bucket list’ activity. If you are on vacation in this area you must have been to Saint Tropez. It ones was a small fishing village known by the picturesque pictures that attracted many artists. Now it s a luxurious place and in summer the expensive yachts dominate the harbor. However, in winter it is completely extinct and the village regains its old character.
A tourist town with beautiful beaches and a nice boulevard. You will find a lot of old buildings and monuments from Roman times. For example a beautiful amphitheater, which is still in use for concerts, but also an old Roman aqueduct and an old monastery. Frejus is also pretty centrally located so that you can easily make trips to the surrounding places.
Hyéres is mainly known for its peninsula and nearby island: Île de Porquerolles. Here you will find a lot of peace and beautiful beaches that are not packed with sun worshiping tourists. The water is very clear so perfect for a snorkeling trip. You can also walk on the paths from beach to beach. Curious about what you can do? I gave 8 tips for a vacation on the Hyéres peninsula.
When you are a bit tired of the bustle and heat of the coastal towns and are looking for a typical old French village then you should definitely go to Tourtour. The village is on the list of most beautiful villages in France, and with its cute little streets this is not without reason. You can find some nice tourist shops and cafes. There is also a mill where traditional olive oil is made.
Massif de Maures
This massif lies between Hyéres and Fréjus and occupies a large part of the Var department. You can take a walk, but it is also nice to explore the area by car. So if it is extremely hot, grab your car, turn on the air conditioning, and in the meantime stop at the nicest spots for some nice pictures. The Route des Crètes is a must, a road where you are only allowed to drive 30 km per hour and where you’ll get a beautiful view on top of the mountain.
De Gorges du Verdon
The Gorges du Verdon is probably one of the most famous and most visited places in France. It’s so incredibly beautiful! The River Verdon flows through deep gorges with rock walls up to 700 meters high. And the water is very beautiful blue. These gorges are one of Europe’s longest: 25 kilometers long! You can explore the gorges in different ways: walking, via the water by canoe or by car. I would say: do all three. Also visit Lac St. Croix, a reservoir with some nice beaches. From this lake you can also go up the river with pedal boats, nice!
Les Grottes de Villecroze
At a 20 minutes drive from the lake st. Croix and near the village of Tourtour you will find a small village with a beautiful park. At the foot of this park is a huge chalk rock with caves to be visited. People used to live in the caves and used them as a defense fortress. A long waterfall flows down to the left of the caves. Nice to combine with a day of Tourtour.
Gorges de Pennafort
Another gorges, but different the those of Villecroze. The river of these gorges has almost dried out. This results in a landscapes of rocks and large boulders with here and there a pool of water and some small waterfalls. It is very nice to walk and also very interesting for children to climb over the boulders and splash in the water. If you walk a bit further you will arrive at some pools where you can swim. Make sure to take good walking shoes and wet feet are unavoidable!
Those who love mountain biking cannot get more lucky in Var. There are lots and lots of well-marked routes, from easy to difficult. You may have heard of the Roc d’Azur: this is an annual mountain bike race in the Var which lasts 4 days.
As you probably already understood, Var is a perfect destination for hiking and walking. The mountains and the gorges are very suitable and there are also plenty of hiking trails! What I really enjoyed is walking along the coastline and discovering different beaches. But there are many options. All you have to do is walk into a local tourist office or ask at the reception of your hotel or campsite. Or you can simply start looking for yourself!
La calanque de la Cron
This beautiful azure blue Calanque is located at Calvalaire-sur-Mer. You can walk down with a staircase. There is a small beach where you can lay down a towel, but it’s a little uncomfortable because of the rocks. So take good water shoes with you! Also don’t forget your snorkel, as the water is nice and clear.
Telepherique du Mont Faron
This is cool! The Telepherique is a cable car in Toulon which brings you to a height of around 500 meters and gives a beautiful view of the city and the sea. Especially recommended during the sunset. If you are afraid of heights, you may need to think carefully before boarding!
In Var are various possibilities for diving. You can also get your PADI (diving certificate) here. Although of course they are not subtropical waters, you can still come across beautiful fish and even squid.
A beautiful old Basilica that you will find in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. The Basilica was built in 1532 and it’s the most important religious building in the Gothic style of Provence. According to a medieval legend, Mary of Magdalene (sister of Lazarus and Martha) came to the South of France to evangelize here. The Basilica is said to have several relics of hers.
Abbaye du Thoronet
This Abbey is one of the largest in Provence, and it’s still in service. If you want to attend a mass, you must visit the Abbey on a Sunday. The grand wooden doors open around 12 o’clock. Sometimes there is a male choir singing Gregorian songs which sounds very beautiful.